We have a lawyer who graduated from Law School, passed the Bar Exam in another state and will be taking the Florida Bar in a few months. What is the correct way to designate them on our website?
When there is no designation after an attorney's name, it is assumed they are a member of the state bar where the law office is located (in this case Florida). So, a lawyer who is not a member of the Florida Bar would have the designation after their name: (admitted to the Louisiana Bar only). Once she is admitted to the Florida Bar, and in the case of lawyers with multi-bar admissions, it is good marketing to have this designation for example: (also admitted to the Louisiana Bar). I have worked with multi-bar lawyers who prefer this designation so as not to get too wordy: (also admitted: NY, TX, VA) - for example.
However, you are required to comply with the substantive lawyer advertising rules in Rules 4-7.12 through 4-7.17 and 4-7.21. I have attached a link to the Florida Bar’s Rule 4-7.
I am also attaching, for your edification, links to three (3) Ethical Opinions and the Handbook on Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation:
· Opinion 61-14, filed September 12, 1961: The Integration Rule prohibits a lawyer not a member of The Florida Bar from holding himself out as a practitioner. Thus a law firm may not name such a lawyer on its letterhead even though noting the lawyer is not a member of The Florida Bar.
· Opinion 68-49, filed December 11, 1968: An attorney may employ an attorney who is not a member of The Florida Bar, as a research assistant, provided the un-admitted attorney does not deal with clients nor otherwise perform acts constituting the practice of law and limits his activities solely to research under the immediate supervision of a member of The Florida Bar. The assistant may not be held out to the public as an attorney by a listing on a letterhead or elsewhere.
· Opinion 73-41, filed March 11, 1974: Law firm employees who are not admitted to practice in Florida may not take depositions for the firm, nor may they do any work which constitutes the practice of law, even though the employees are law school graduates and are admitted in other jurisdictions.